Author Interview with Penny Parkes

Today I'm very excited to welcome Penny Parkes to the blog. She is the author of the warm and lovely read Out of Practice and its sequel Practice Makes Perfect, which was released this summer. 

Hi Penny and welcome to Alba in Bookland again. First of all, congratulations on winning the Romantic Comedy of the Year category of the RNA Awards. What did winning this award mean to you?

Thank you so much for having me, Alba – the RoNAs was a fabulous evening and it was a wonderful surprise to actually win! It was also particularly special to be honoured by the RNA, as I have been lucky enough to meet so many inspirational writers through their events, amongst them now some true friends – holding my hand both literally and metaphorically at times on my path to publication! And of course, we have the inimitable Katie Fforde to blame for me being published at all, after some very spot-on advice at the Cheltenham Festival a few years ago.

Now, could you tell us about your latest release, Practice Makes Perfect?

Well, Practice Makes Perfect gives us an opportunity to sneak even further behind the scenes of The Practice at Larkford – lots more dishy doctors, dogs and devilment. And there’s a whole new partnership structure in place – 4 partners, 2 couples – and the boundaries between personal and professional ever more blurry.

On the surface it might seem like the perfect situation and the powers-that-be certainly think so, because they’ve now nominated Larkford as a Model Practice. But, as we all know, if you shine a spotlight on things, it does rather tend to emphasise the flaws

A few unexpected visitors throw everything out of balance, even as they give us a little more insight into our doctors’ backgrounds. 

I’m hope it will be like visiting old friends for those returning to the series and a wonderfully rural escapade for those new to the Larkford Valley.

What is new in Practice Makes Perfect? Are there new characters, new settings, new pets?

The major new addition to the team comes in the form of Dr Alice Walker, a breath of fresh Scottish air. She brings with her Coco the cocker spaniel – her diabetes medical detection dog – who has completely stolen not only my heart, but also that of Eric the Labradoodle!

If you could switch places for a day with one of the characters in the story, which one would you pick and why?

Oh, it would have to be Dr Holly Graham – I’m not sure how I’d cope with juggling twins, but I’d happily spend some quality time with Taffy Jones!

How does your writing process go? Do you plan everything first or you just start writing and let your characters talk to you? 

It’s a combination of the two, to be honest – rather depending on where I am in the process. I start out with a few themes and concepts, not to mention some milestone events. With the first draft, I prefer to let things flow, as writing to a plan actually stifles the characters’ developments for me. The structure tends to fall into place with the editing.

Could you recommend us a novel that you have read recently and has stayed with you?

The Woman At Number Twenty Four is just wonderful – I dived in one weekend and lived and breathed the goings-on at Number 24 until I came up for air – Juliet Ashton always has such wonderful characterization in her books. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

And finally, are you already working on a new project? Will we get more Larkford stories? 

I’m actually back in Larkford right now, pulling together some really special plotlines for the next visit in Summer 2018. It’s rather wonderful spending time with my characters again, and seeing what they’re up to!

I'm so happy to hear this, Penny! Thank you so much for stopping by!

About the Book: 

Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Penny Parkes
Published: June 29th 2017 by Simon & Schuster

Blurb: The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Out of Practice won the Romantic Comedy of the Year category of the RNA Awards.

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